Sixteen-year-old Alex Cole sits in the back seat of police patrol car admiring the conflagration consuming the Cole Family Funeral Home. A shadow beside him coalesces into the shape of a tall lanky man in silhouette. Alex pays it no attention, as he pulls at his stained, torn, frayed, and scorched clown costume.
“Well done,” states the shadow man relaxing next to Alex in the backseat. “I know, right?” Alex smiles, “everything happened just like you said it would.” Alex places the remains of the mostly melted mask over his face. The shadow man chuckles, “Clown always get the last laugh.”
Alex recalls his father, Daniel, and himself standing in the rain next to the freshly filled grave of his mother and little brother some six years ago. He remembers the sound of the wet brakes locking up and the tires squealing in an effort to stop their family car, as their father swerved into oncoming traffic. Then the sensation of weightlessness, as he flew through the air. His next memory was laying on a gurney in the back of a county fire rescue ambulance.
Alex’s family was not the only one to suffer losses that night though. In a scene of absolute devastation, Alex overheard that the other driver, nor her unborn baby girl, did not survive the impact. Alex lowered his head in shame and sadness. He was not the monster he would become, yet.
Alex continued to review the memories of that fateful night. He watched through the open ambulance door, as Daniel broke down in tears. They watched the paramedics and firefighters try to remove Cindy, his mother, and Andy, his little brother. There was no saving them, as the dash had pinned her under it. The impact had pushed her seat back against Andy concealing him from the view of the Firefighters.
The fire consumed both mother and child, but their screams for help did not go unnoticed by all present. The sickly-sweet smell of the burning bodies filled the air. Alex had never felt so helpless, as he had that day.
Alex was sent to live with his grandmother during Daniel’s trial. The physical therapy was intense, but the move left him friendless. You really learn who your friends are when tragedy strikes, filled his every day he sat alone in Carole’s, his grandmother, guest room.
Daniel would eventually be acquitted and the incident ruled and accident. This did not stop the hate filled vandalism, e-mails, and disturbing late-night phone calls. Carol suggested they move into his grandfather’s funeral home, as Hank has passed away years ago. This would also allow Daniel to continue to work, as a mortician. The property located in the small central Florida community of Port St. John had enough space for them to live in the residence and work.
After the move Daniel found work, as a Brevard County Medical Examiner. A job which he would never have gotten a few short months before due to his out of control alcoholism. But the six months behind bars during the trial helped dry him out. Which allowed him to pass the urine test required to get the job.
It was not long after that Daniel would send for Alex to come live with him. Father and son, again, under the same roof after all the tragedy they had both suffered. Each afraid that they may never find their way back to the family they used to be. Especially with the loss of Cindy and Andy.
For Alex, it was a time of great upheaval, as again he had to learn to be both a son and a freshman high school student in an all new city. He did his best to put the past aside and try to give the new situation a chance to work. Alex found himself alone most of the time due to Daniels long work hours.
One afternoon, as he walked home after school from Space Coast Junior Senior High School, he was attacked by one of many school bullies there named Robert. The assault was from behind he had no chance of defending himself. Before he realizes what was happening he had already been knocked to the ground. Robert stood above his victim smiling wide, “tell whoever you want. Trust me nothing ever gets done about anything here.”
As a crowd formed around the two boys’, numerous parents, with their students safely inside their cars, simply drove past the scene obviously ignoring what was happening. Robert mounted Alex and rained thunderous punch after punch, “FREAK. Your dads’ a murderer!” The punches didn’t hurt nearly as much as the reminder of the past they worked so hard to forget.
Shane Murphy could not stand by and watch Robert do to another student what he had done to him the previous year. He pushed through the crowd until he reached the boys. He felt the anger and teen aged angst well up from deep inside him. He flung himself into the fray slamming hard against Robert in a football like tackle. Knocking him off Alex and onto the lawn of the house next to that patch of sidewalk.
Robert and Shane rolled around on the ground, but Shane would ultimately get a rear naked choke hold on Robert. Not a trained fighting technique, but a primal need to survive and put an end to current predator. The crowd watched and laughed, as Robert turned red under the pressure Shane placed on his neck. But it was Alex who would catch Shane’s attention, “I’m okay let him go.”
Shane nodded and released the bully and pushed him aside. He quickly rose to his feet, as the crowd cheered for the fight to continue. Shane looked to Robert, as he gasped for breath. Then turned his attention to Alex, “We need to get the hell out of here before he gets back up!’ The boys nodded in agreement and fled.
Alex and Shane found their way back to the Cole Family Funeral home. They entered quickly and Alex locked the door behind them. He looked out the window to see if Robert was behind them. After seeing they were not pursued the boys laughed. From that time on, the two boys quickly became the best of friends working to keep each other safe from Robert’s many retaliation attempts.
Months passed as, Daniel continued to work long hours and working to get the Funeral Home to start generating the additional income needed to help support them. This left Alex home alone in some cases what would feel like for days to the teenager. Little did Alex realize that the stress of Daniels job demands and guilt of his own mental prison had led Daniel back to the bottle.
Summer turned to fall, as Daniel’s work began to suffer from his alcohol abuse and self-inflicted long hours. He was discovered on several occasions asleep in the medical examiner’s office while on duty. Daniel would come to a drunken decision that would haunt him in the all to near future.
Daniel would begin to teach Alex Embalming and Corpse Preparation in the secrecy of the funeral home basement. At first Alex was appalled at the idea, but slowly he became acclimated to the work. Alex’s acclimation to the work turned into a greater curiosity of the workings of the human body. Daniel was surprised to see just how quickly his son took to the family business.
Alex spent hours each day sitting in his funeral home attic looking through boxes of his mother and brother possessions. Inside a box of Andy’s things, he was startled to discover a creepy porcelain clown doll and throws it down. nearly drops it in fear. Alex fled from the room, as the doll hits the floor. The sudden impact triggered the now fractured dolls prerecorded monotone laughter.
The dolls laughter echoed through the funeral home creepily in his brother voice. Alex would sit shaken for hours, as the laughter continued. At the end of that time he began to see his brother image everywhere he looked. It did not matter if he was inside his house, the funeral home, or even at school he could not escape the thoughts of his dead brother.
One morning Alex sat eating breakfast, as the local news broadcast announced that local teen age boy Shane Murphy had been abducted and authorities were asking to the communities help in finding him. The news broadcast showed grainy security footage of Shane being abducted by a grotesque looking clown from in front of an ATM machine.
Robert knew that the boys were now separated by circumstances and it was the perfect time to get even with Alex. He watched Alex as he entered the school that morning. Alex was in shock and simply going through the motions. Robert planned his revenge to happen during lunch.
Alex was trying to make his way through school in shock of his friend’s loss and the events of the morning. His attention constantly shifting to his cellphone to see if any new information had been posted about Shane’s disappearance. In each class period, he would be reprimanded by the instructor for using the phone during class time. Try as he might to explain to the teachers that answer became the same frustrating response, “let the authorities handle it. You need to focus on your work.”
Only the new teacher Mr. Kenny would understand the young man’s worries and excused him from his course work. Mr. Kenny insisted that Alex go to the restroom and take a few minutes to compose himself. Alex thanked him and explained that was all he needed, “thank you Mr. Kenny I wish the P.E. Coach had been as understanding.” With that Alex left to go to the restroom.
Alex enters a stall and wept for the first time over his friends passing. He checked the local new network with his cellphone to see if they had added any new information, the hadn’t. Alex watched the grainy security footage several times.
Alex’s emotional moment is interrupted, as two teachers burst into the rest room deep in a very emotionally heated argument. He watches silently from the stall peeking between the gaps. The argument escalates, as he watches in terrified silence.
Mr. Kenny, and the P.E. Coach yelled loudly at one another. “All he wanted was you to understand what he was going through,” Mr. Kenny scolded. “Fuck you Kenny. Don’t tell me how to do my job. Alex needs to toughen up. He’s been a real pussy since he got here,” claimed Coach Hall.
Alex slips off the toilet edge and lands with a loud thud. Coach Halls faces twists with anger, “You trying to set me up Kenny!” Mr. Kenny shakes his head in response. Coach Hall slaps him across the face, “stitches are for snitches, Kenny.” Coach Hall stormed in the direction to the stall Alex was hiding inside of.
Mr. Kenny pushes Coach Hall backwards staggering against the sink corner. Coach Hall lands with a wet crunch, as fountain of blood erupts from left side of his head and face. The blood pooled fast, wide, and deep around the fallen teacher’s body.
Mr. Kenny took a deep breath and checks the restroom stalls discovering Alex cowering inside. “Come here, Alex” Mr. Kenny asked, “This happened because of you, right?” Alex stood frozen staring at the Coach’s body. “But,” Alex began. “But nothing. this was all because of you. The argument. The Push. All of it,” Mr. Kenny accused. “I’m gonna help. Just do as I tell you. I will get you out of this,” Mr. Kenny continued. Alex nodded, as he stood still in shock.
Mr. Kenny searches Coach Hall’s pockets and smiles. He raises his hand inform of Alex and shows him a set of car keys. “Gimme a hand,” Alex and Mr. Kenny place the Coach’s body into Coach Halls trunk careful to not be seen. Alex closes the trunk and looks to Mr. Kenny, “meet me here right after school we will get rid of the body together, but don’t talk to anyone about this. Got it?” Alex nods again in understanding. “Now get back to class,” Mr. Kenny scolded.
Alex quickly puts distance between Mr. Kenny and himself. Alex stops outside of Mr. Kenny’s classroom full of uncertain emotions of the day’s events, but decides to go to the Dean instead of returning to class. His decision gets cut short, as he reaches the Deans office only to discover Mr. Kenny inside speaking with the Dean and laughing.
Alex watches the men through the window, but gets noticed by Mr. Kenny. Mr. Kenny lowers his head and offers a devilish smile. Alex lowers his eyes What the hell do I do now? The Deans his friend and would never take my word over his. Shane would have known what to do. Alex shakes his head and looks back through the Deans office and becomes startled. Mr. Kenny stands in the window looking down at him and taps his watch. Alex rushes back to the classroom.
Alex runs past his locker towards Mr. Kenny’s classroom, but doesn’t see Robert waiting at the end of the row of lockers. Robert trips Alex onto the hard tile floors. Alex is laid prone by the fall. “Just you and me now.” Robert stops his himself, as he spots Mr. Kenny coming. He kneels down and lifts Alex to his feet, “this isn’t over, asshole.” Robert opens the classroom door in feigned respect for both Alex and Mr. Kenny.
All three enter the classroom to return to the days scheduled class work. Robert pushes past Alex to his seat at the end of their row. Alex flops into his seat and shakes his head in disbelief of what has happened to him today. Mr. Kenny passes out a series of work sheets to get everyone back on track. “Alex, I need you to stay after class. I need a word with you about your work,” Mr. Kenny looks down the row to Alex, as he sinks down into his desk bearing a look of shame and uncertainty.
Alex tries to slip out after the bell rings, but Mr. Kenny moves between him and the door “I’m just trying to help you.” Alex moves out of the surge of fast-moving students. He stands next to Mr. Kenny’s desk. “Why are you doing this to me? I had nothing to do with,” Alex pleads. “This has everything to do with you Mr. Cole. Everything.” Mr. Kenny states in a coldly logical tone. The last student to leave is Robert who pauses and smiles at Alex, as he passes mouthing the words,” bitch.”
“Tell me how is any of this my fault?” Alex demands. “The entire argument was about you. Coash, showed up at my class asking to speak with you. I told him you were in the restroom and he stormed off to find you” Mr. Kenny replies curtly. “So?” Alex looks puzzled at Mr. Kenny’s logic and scratches his head. “he wanted to pull you out of class, as he had found his office destroyed. He found your student Id. In the mess,” Mr. Kenny explained. “I didn’t do it!” Alex pleaded. “I know. That’s what I said, as we entered the restroom,” Mr. Kenny defended.
Alex shakes his head and looks to the floor, as the guilt begins to take hold of him. “He said that I was going out of my way to protect you and accused me of having an inappropriate relationship with you,” Mr. Kenny added. “But,” Alex began. “I told him we were nothing more than Teacher and student, but he said he would go to the Dean about us,” Mr. Kenny continued. Alex looked down searching his feelings, as the guilt overtook him fully. Mr. Kenny nods, “So the entire time I was trying to protect you from everything. Especially knowing about you friend Shane missing and what that must be doing to you.” Alex nods in agreement, “your right it’s all my fault.”
Mr. Kenny smiles, “Now, we have to work together. To keep us both out of jail, understand?” Alex nods in acceptance of the facts presented by Mr. Kenny, “Thank you. I’ll do whatever you think is best.” Mr. Kenny smiles knowing the manipulation worked on the teen, “Good meet me outside the school parking lot. We will take Coash’s car and to hide the body. Okay?” Alex nods again, “Thank you Mr. Kenny.”
Alex continued his school day, but was emotionally drained and was simply going through the motions of the remaining school day. Though he did summon enough awareness to keep his distance from Robert. What did I get myself into? The thought flooded his every moment.
Finally, the dismissal bell rang and the students flooded out of the school. Alex slowly made his way to his locker and then out of the school. He was passed by groups of friends and cliques walking or running home. Alex shuffled along listless and unsure how his day would end.
Alex was shake out of his daze by the honking of a car horn from behind him. Turning to see what was going on his stomach dropped and he felt sick seeing Mr. Kenny in the Coaches car. Mr. Kenny motioned for Alex to get inside. He lowered his head and did as he was expected. The music inside the vehicle was loud and fast paced. “Ready?” Mr. Kenny asked. Alex motioned to him to just drive.
The pair drove away from the campus and traveled down Fay to the intersection of Fay and Grissom Parkway. The light turned red. Traffic stopped. “I am concerned about where to hide him. I was thinking of dropping him in the Indian River, but with the coming storm season he may wash up,” Mr. Kenny stated. Alex thought about the crime shows his dad watched, “they always find the body.” Mr. Kenny looked disappointed at the thought, “well do you have a better idea?”
Alex in a moment of clarity to save himself and Mr. Kenny smiles and states, “the funeral home!” “What?” Mr. Kenny asks. “the funeral home has a crematory furnace that can be used to get rid of the body.” Alex adds. Mr. Kenny smiles, as he sees the boy’s resourcefulness, “Good thinking. But what about your dad?” Alex shook his head, “he’s more than likely drunk and sleeping it off. We could load the body, burn it, and be done before he would ever know.”
After arriving at the funeral home the pair carry the Coach’s body into the rear entrance and into the funeral home. “I didn’t know your family owned a funeral home,” Mr. Kenny asked. “Yeah its’ the family business. My dad and I moved back here to start over,” Alex said sadly. Mr. Kenny nodded in understanding and smiled, “I’m sure everything will work out. Now where’s that furnace.”
The mortuary furnace is built into the south wall of the body preparation room. The room itself was full of stainless steel tables and medical devices. Pumps used for removing bodily fluids and replacing them with chemicals for embalming corpses were placed along the north wall of the room. Industrial light hung from the ceiling offering flickering illumination to the Embalming Room of the Cole Family Funeral Home.
The door to the embalming room burst open, as teacher and student enter carrying the body of the coach. “Over there,” Alex motioned with and of his head towards the furnace. They dropped the body along the furnace and Alex turned on the gas and lit the cremation chamber. “This will get rid of,” Mr. Kenny started. Alex interrupted, “everything but the car.” “I’ll handle the car,” Mr. Kenny stated as he took out his cellphone and began searching the internet.
Moments passed, as Alex listened to Mr. Kenny calling a company that buys cars with no questions asked. “The furnace ready?” Mr. Kenny asked him, as he ended the phone call. Alex nodded and opened the tray door to load the body. They loaded the body into the cremation chamber. “Will this get rid of the bones also,” Mr. Kenny asked. Alex turned up the temperature of the chamber, “to will now. There should be nothing left.”
“So, Alex, you obviously don’t live here alone,” Mr. Kenney questioned the teen as he examines a large surgical blade. “No, my Dad…” Alex stated realizing he had not heard from his father in a several hours, “usually home.” Mr. Kenny lays the blade back down and looks around the room haphazardly, “Where is he now?” “Should be home any time,” Alex suggested to emphasize that the teacher needed to leave.
“Does he normally work so late?” Mr. Kenny asked. “No, not since…” Alex spoke and then immediately mouthed the words FUCK. Alex’s every thought filled with images of Daniel passed out somewhere from more binge drinking. “Since what?” Mr. Kenny dug deeper at the young man’s statement. “The accident,” Alex lowered and shook his head, as shame filed his face. “What Accident?” Mr. Kenny pushed the topic.
“I would really rather not talk about it,” Alex stated never looking up from the floor. “I understand, Alex,” Mr. Kenny continued, “I also lost someone not long ago.” Mr. Kenny patted Alex on the shoulder, “When your ready we can talk about it, okay?” Alex nodded and opened the back door. Mr. Kenny understood and walked to the exit, “See you at school tomorrow.” “Yeah,” Alex half-heartedly replied.
Alex locked the door behind Mr. Kenny’s exit and checked on the body of the coach. In the minute after being placed in the cremation chamber the body had broken down too little more than ash. He spent an hour cleaning out the chamber and removing all signs of its use. His thoughts focused on covering up their actions. After all he did not want to go to jail, as was suggested by Mr. Kenny.
Alex’s sleep was full of horrible thoughts of being pursued through the burning funeral home by a demonic clown. Andy’s spirit appeared throughout the dream trying to guide him out of the burning building. Finally, it had cornered him inside the cremation chamber. He climbed inside to hide, but it opened the chamber door and reached for him.
The evil clowns voice calling out “Got Cha!” echoed though Alex’s head, as he screamed and jumped from his bed. He stood next to his bed for a long moment before he calmed slightly and sat down. “Damned Nightmares!” He said weeping into his palms. Alex flopped back onto his bed, closed his eyes, and prayed for the first time in many years.
The next morning Alex awoke and got ready for school, but noticed no signs of Daniel. Alex thought it was odd and checked his father’s room for him. Alex was confused Daniel had always come home even after binge drinking. Alex thought for a long second maybe he was still sleeping it off in some parking lot.
Alex decided he couldn’t wait around for Daniel to find his way home. If he was late Mr. Kenny might think he tried to go to the police and he knew the teacher would spin the story against him. Alex rushed to the front door just in time to answer it by pure accident.
Alex opened the door only to be confronted by a man with a packing slip standing near a refrigerated truck. “Can I help you?” Alex prodded. “Yeah, I need to speak with Daniel Cole, please?” the man asked. “What’s this about,” Alex continued his line of questioning. The man turned from the door and looked at his truck.
“Is Daniel here or not. I don’t have time for this,” annoyance hung heavy in each word of the delivery man. Alex was equally annoyed by the man’s growing rudeness and his need to get to school. “Look I have a cadaver in the truck that was assigned to this funeral home. He has to sign for it,” the man pointed at the signature line on his paperwork. Alex shook his head, “were both screwed Dad’s sleeping one off and I am late for school.”
“Can you sign for this? I need to go,” the man begged. Alex looked puzzled at the request, “Um sure?” Alex stated still confused. “I will put it in the cooler,” the delivery man added. “Sure, it’s around back. I’ll open the door, but could you do me a favor and drop me off near my school?” Alex begged. The Delivery man nodded in agreement.
Alex locked the front door and made his way quickly to the funeral home’s back door. As he entered the embalming room he paused, as he believed he saw a child out of the corner of his eye. He slowly moved towards the embalming room examining each step for signs of the child, but none were found. Alex was taken out of his daze by the rhythmic thumping on the back door from outside. “Shit,” he stated aloud remembering why he was even in this part of the funeral home.
Alex threw open the doors and pointed towards the body cooler. “Here fill this out. I’ll put the body inside,” the delivery guy pushed the clipboard into Alex’s chest. Alex looked down and began signing his dad’s name in each location marked. The delivery guy returned to the back door having completed his work, as Alex reached the end of the documents. “You Ready?” asked the delivery man.
Alex was frozen in place staring at the identification of the cadaver. “Shane…” Alex whispered. His attention snapped to the cooler door and then to the delivery man. Alex was in shock his eyes darted about the room, as he realized what had just happened. He had just accepted his missing friends body to be embalming and preparation. Why had no one told him? Why did he have to discover this alone? Why would they send him to our family funeral home? Alex’s thoughts races and the tears began flowing down his face.
“Who sent him here?” Alex begged. “Look kid I just get the orders to transport. That’s it. Did you know him?” the Delivery guy asked. Alex nodded and wiped the snot and tears from his face with the sleeve of his flannel shirt. “Sorry kid, but I need to go. Do you still want a ride?” the delivery man looked pressed for time and in a rush. Alex nodded and followed the man to his truck in a stupor.
Alex was dropped off about a block from the high school, as to not raise suspicions about events of the morning. This would give him plenty of time to finish walking to school and think about everything. Who found him? What had been done to him? Why Shane? Alex thoughts continued to focus on his friend.
So, lost in thought was Alex he did not see Robert lying in wait near the school entrance sign. Alex oblivious to all of his surroundings save for the side walk never even knew what hit him. Robert rushed from behind pulling Alex backwards on top of his backpack. Alex landed with a hard thud. Robert quickly took the mount and began a flurry of punches hammering down on Alex’s head neck and shoulder. Alex couldn’t free his arms to protect his face. Robert was sitting on his chest with his knees pressing downward against his shoulders.
Students watched and laughed passing the scuffle on their way to school. Not even parents driving past would offer help to stop the bludgeoning. Alex tried to rise time and again, but Robert would not stop the assault or let up in the least. Alex slipped into unconsciousness.
Mr. Kenny and Emma were sitting in the nurse’s office close to Alex talking about the attack. “Where am I?” Alex whispered and sat up. Emma rushed to his side, “You okay?” Alex looked up through one partially swollen eye, “Robert just .... No, I’m not all right.” “Don’t be mad at her Alex? She was the one who had me come stop the fight,” Mr. Kenny scolded. “Sorry,” Alex collapsed back onto the cot. “get back to class,” Mr. Kenny said to Emma, “I’ll stay with him.” Emma nodded in understanding and reluctantly left.
“This has to be the worst day of my life. Shane. Robert. Now this.” Alex angrily stated. “What do you mean?” Mr. Kenny probed the young man for answers about his statement. Alex rolled his eyes, “The funeral home received Shane’s body this morning.” “I see,” Mr. Kenny nodded, “Does Emma know?” “I suppose. Someone in or close to the family would have to send it to us. After the autopsy was performed. Right?” Alex looked to Mr. Kenny in confusion. Mr. Kenny nodded and then shrugged, “that’s the way it happens on TV.”
“As for Robert meet me after class and we’ll talk, okay?” Mr. Kenny smiled at Alex. “huh,” Alex blurted out. “I helped you out before, didn’t I?” Mr. Kenny added. Alex nodded, “yeah, but…” “But nothing, WE, will work through this. I’m here to help” Mr. Kenny grinned and left the Nurse’s office.
Alex leaves the school clinic to seek information about the brawl. After leaving the clinic Alex sees the school resource officer in the hallway and decides to approach him about what had happened. “Excuse me Officer McCredie,” Alex begged. Officer McCredie moves his attention to the approaching student, “What do you need? Mr. Cole, right?” “I was wondering what happened to Robert this morning after the fight was stopped?” Alex watched for the officer’s response. “What fight?” Officer McCredie probed, “there was no fight reported.”
Alex felt the scrutinizing gaze of the officer’s full attention. “I’m sure if there was a fight it would have been reported, as we take bullying very seriously here at Space Coast Junior Senior High School.” Alex chuckled, as both he and the entire student body knew that the school always buried the claims to keep its low bullying rating. “Sorry, a little fuzzy after my fall this morning,” Alex pointed to his wounds and bruises. Officer McCredie nodded in understanding and motioned for Alex to get moving.
Alex looked to the hallway clock, remembered it was time for his lunch period, and turned and walked towards the cafeteria. As he reached the cafeteria door Emma met him, “You okay?” Alex nodded and then paused. He was holding a look of confusion on his face, as he turned to face Emma, “Why wasn’t the fight reported this morning?” Emma sighed and exhaled, “Mr. Kenny said he was going to handle it, as the school would be more prone to pay attention if a teacher reported it.” Alex nodded in agreement, “Makes sense.” Emma nodded and held open the door, as they entered the cafeteria.
The pair made their way into the lunch line to get their food. Emma led the way picking up two of the ugly neon orange plastic trays and hanging one to Alex. “Did he report it?” “I assumed he did? If not he will. We can trust him,” Emma said with conviction. Alex and Emma stopped and picked up an entrée each. “How well do you know Mr. Kenny?” Alex questioned, as he reached for a small apple and placed it on his tray. “Well, enough I mean this is his second year here,” Emma responds. Alex nods and they leave the lunch line to seek a place to sit in the cafeteria.
Alex and Emma cross the cafeteria settling in a familiar spot. Emma sits first and smiles, as she sees Mr. Kenny enter the lunch room. Alex sighs and sits with his back to Mr. Kenny, “I hate that guy.” Emma looks confused by Alex’s words, “He’s been nothing, but nice to you and me.” Alex shakes his head and takes a bite of his rectangular piece of pizza. “What?” Emma questions. “Let’s just change the subject, please?” Alex responds. “When did they find Shane?” Alex takes another bite of food. Emma stops cold and drops her milk, “What do you mean? Find … Shane?”
(to be continued)